No10’s new freebies for fitties scheme to launch in Wolverhampton where 250,000 people will be ‘rewarded’ with discount vouchers and cinema tickets if they exercise and eat healthy
- The scheme will see Brits wear Fitbit-style devices to monitor their exercise
- Some 250,000 people in Wolverhampton can download the app from January
- Health secretary Sajid Javid says it will ’empower’ people to change their weight
People in Wolverhampton will be the first to benefit from No10’s new anti-obesity drive that rewards people for exercise with cinema tickets and vouchers.
The scheme, called FitMiles, will see Brits wear Fitbit-style devices to monitor their exercise levels.
Some 250,000 people in Wolverhampton will be able to download the app that will encourage them to eat healthier, reduce their portion sizes and increase their daily step count from the start of next year.
In return for improving their lifestyle, they will collect points which can be redeemed for vouchers or discounts on items.
Obesity-related illnesses cost the NHS £6billion a year and the scale of the challenge has been highlighted by Covid disproportionately affecting people who are overweight
Announcing the pilot scheme today, Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said it will ’empower’ people to change their lifestyles for the better.
People in Wolverhampton will be the first to benefit from No10’s new anti-obesity drive that rewards people for exercise with cinema tickets and vouchers [stock picture]
Announcing the pilot scheme today, Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid (pictured today on Downing Street in London) said it will ’empower’ people to change their lifestyles for the better
One in seven youngsters are obese by the time they start primary school now compared to one in 10 before Covid struck. By the time they get to Year 6, the proportion who are too fat rises to one in four, up from one in five in 2019. The above graph shows the proportion of children who are deemed either overweight or obese
Childhood obesity hits record high during Covid
Childhood obesity rates in England soared to record levels in the pandemic, official figures have revealed .
One in seven youngsters are obese by the time they start Reception now, compared to one in 10 before Covid struck.
By the time they get to Year 6, the proportion who are too fat rises to one in four, up from one in five in 2019.
The NHS Digital data also shows children from the poorest areas are twice as likely to be obese as those from the least deprived parts.
Obesity campaign groups called the figures ‘alarming’, warning that lockdowns and school closures had taken a huge toll on youngsters’ physical health and widened health inequalities.
More than 2.5million children in England are either overweight or obese and experts fear they are on course to become the fattest generation in history.
Mr Javid said: ‘This pilot is an exciting opportunity to see how we can empower people to make healthy changes to their lifestyle and I would encourage all adults in Wolverhampton to come forward and register their interest.
‘Taking part will help us better understand how rewards can help motivate people to make small adjustments to their daily lives that will have a lasting positive impact on their health.
‘I want to make it easier for people to make healthy choices and the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities is driving forward our levelling up agenda for health across the country.’
People interested in taking part in the scheme can sign up on HeadUp Systems’ website.
Some of the items the Government plans to offer include, discounts on cinema or theme park tickets, shopping vouchers, vouchers for clothes and food, and gym passes.
The Health Incentives Scheme was announced as part of a £10million package of Government support to help those living with obesity to move closer towards a healthier weight and give them the tools they need to maintain it.
The Government is spending £3million on the scheme and has awarded the contract to health technology company Headup.
It is the latest in a string of anti-obesity initiatives from No10 in recent months, as the Government seeks to trim the nation’s waistline and its impact on the budget.
Almost two-thirds of adults in England are classified as overweight or obese, with obesity related illness costing the NHS £6billion a year.
Obesity has also been linked with being more likely to become severely ill with Covid.
Government data indicates nearly eight per cent of critically ill Covid patients were morbidly obese, compared to three per cent of the general population.
Public Health Minister Maggie Throup said: ‘I am looking forward to seeing how this pilot will help us better understand how small rewards can have a big impact in helping people make positive changes to their diet and physical activity.
‘Wolverhampton is leading the way to develop innovative ways to ensure people can live healthier lives, for longer.’
Councillor Ian Brookfield, the Leader of the City of Wolverhampton Council, said: ‘We are working hard to improve the overall health of everyone in Wolverhampton by providing innovative solutions which can help our residents get more active.
‘We are already making significant progress in tackling physical inactivity, improving infrastructure and making environmental changes to enable people to be more active.
‘And we are delighted to be working with the Department for Health and Social Care and HeadUp on this important pilot programme to see whether offering incentives can help people make positive changes to improve their health and wellbeing.’